Centre Joe Roberts and prop Kemsley Mathias have received their first Wales call-ups as part of an 11-strong Scarlets contingent named in Warren Gatland’s 54-player preliminary training squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The uncapped pair, who both came through the Scarlets Academy, have enjoyed breakthrough seasons at Parc y Scarlets and played big roles in the team reaching the semi-finals of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
They are joined in the squad by Ken Owens, Ryan Elias, Josh Macleod, Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Sam Costelow, Johnny Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Tom Rogers.
Players will start to come in for training sessions with Wales on a rolling basis from May 25, with entry into camp depending on when an individual’s club season has ended.
In addition to sessions at the National Centre of Excellence in Hensol, Wales will travel to Switzerland and Turkey in July for specialist training camps. The squad size will be reduced ahead of each trip.
Wales then have three Summer Series Test matches against England (home and away on August 5 and 12) and South Africa (August 19, at Principality Stadium) before the official 33-player squad to head to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France is named.
Gatland said: “We’ve picked a large squad for a number of reasons. We will reduce the squad to about 45 before we go to Switzerland so there’s a bit of jeopardy in the first part of the campaign.
“It’s a great opportunity for some players that were involved in the Six Nations and some youngsters for the future to show us what they are capable of doing in the first part of the preparation.
“In the past we’ve prided ourselves on how hard we’ve worked and how fit the squad has been. So that’s the message to the players to come in and make a statement, work really hard, make the coaches sit up and take notice and get yourself in great shape physically.
“A lot of skill work needs to be done and there’s an opportunity to work on the detail you often don’t get when you go into Six Nations or Autumn campaigns when you have limited preparation time.”
Wales preliminary training squad for Rugby World Cup 2023
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 20 caps)
Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – uncapped)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys – 42 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 21 caps)
Eliott Dee (Dragons – 41 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 33 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 8 caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets – 91 caps)
Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 71 caps)
Will Davies-King (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 50 caps)
Henry Thomas (Montpellier – uncapped)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 46 caps)
Ben Carter (Dragons – 9 caps)
Rhys Davies (Ospreys – 2 caps)
Cory Hill (Yokohama Canon Eagles – 32 caps)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 6 cap)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 157 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons – 23 caps)
Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs – 5 caps)
Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Taine Basham (Dragons – 11 caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 100 caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 68 caps)
Josh Macleod (Scarlets – 2 caps)
Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 9 caps)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 9 caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 93 caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 37 caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 67 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 17 caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 40 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 45 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 35 caps)
Dan Biggar (Toulon – 107 caps)
Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 2 caps)
Owen Williams (Ospreys – 7 caps)
Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
George North (Ospreys – 113 caps)
Joe Roberts (Scarlets – uncapped)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 27 caps)
Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 5 caps)
Keiran Williams (Ospreys – uncapped)
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 49 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 57 caps)
Rio Dyer (Dragons – 7 caps)
Cai Evans (Ospreys – uncapped)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 99 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 25 caps)
Tom Rogers (Scarlets – 2 caps)
Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 84 caps)